Allyssa Lee
June 14, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Back Then: Two Lives in 1950s New York

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Anne Bernays, Justin Kaplan
publisher
William Morrow
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

A double memoir, Back Then recounts the husband-and-wife authors’ parallel postwar upbringings and eventual intersection on the publishing track, giving a nostalgic glimpse of the city before it became the millennium capital of the world. While Bernays’ and Kaplan’s lives are enviously privileged, their anecdotes are all proffered with a well-written, self-deprecating touch that’s hard to resist. On William Faulkner unexpectedly arriving at one of their dinner parties: ”It may be thrilling to realize that the man standing next to you is a writer from Olympus, but the psychic space between you is as wide as if you had four legs and fur and he two and feathers.” A captivating look at a bygone era.

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